Mikko HeleväMikko Helevä (b. 1970) has been the organspecialist of the Finnish jazz scene since the late 1990s. Helevä started his music studies at the Music School of Oulu with piano and music theory studies and was accepted to the jazz department of Sibelius Academy in the mid-1990s. In 1996 Big Brother was born, Helevä's band that performed actively at the clubs of Helsinki. The band was also an important early step for the other members of the band, for saxophonist Joonatan Rautio, guitarist Esa Onttonen, bassist Janne Antikainen and drummer Mika Kallio. The quintet performed till the beginning of the 21st century, mainly Helevä's and Onttonen's compositions, and recorded a radiotape in spring 1999.
The most long-lasting band for Helevä has been Bronson that was formed in 1998 and that introduced Helevä to the great public as a brilliant jazzorganist. Helevä's compositions draw elements from the organ jazz tradition but with a unique, modern touch. Bronson has toured two times around Finland in 2000 and 2004, saxophonist Jukka Perko featuring on the first one.
The organ of Mikko Helevä, also the bass lines, play an important role in saxophonist Olli Ojajärvi's So So-band that released their debut album Smooth in 2004. Besides So So Helevä has recorded on Kalle Kalima's group Soi Ensemble's albums Pehmeä (2003) and Koiperhonen (2005) and guitarist Timo Kämäräinen's debutalbum Unea (2005). Other leaders who have used Helevä in their groups have during the recent years been e.g. saxophonist Manuel Dunkel, drummer Jussi Lehtonen and guitarists Teemu Viinikainen and Jarmo Saari. With UMO Helevä performed for the first time in October 1998 in the Young Soloists Concert. Recently one of the most active bands for Helevä has been drummer André Sumelius's Tonight at Noon, a group that performs the music of the bass legend Charlie Mingus.
Helevä graduated from Sibelius Academy in 2003 with the Master's Degree and has been working as a teacher at the jazz department already since the end of 1990s. Currently Helevä is finishing his doctoral studies for the jazz department of Sibelius Academy. He also teaches Hammond organ in workshops at Pop & Jazz Conservatory and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.
© The Finnish Jazz Federation
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